The remains of a seafront hotel in Cornwall will be made safe today so rescuers can continue the search for four people still missing after a fatal blaze.
A man in his 40s died after jumping from one of the upper floors of the Penhallow Hotel in Newquay, Cornwall, as fire took hold shortly after midnight yesterday.
Four others remain in hospital, one of whom is believed to be between 70 and 80 and in a critical condition.
Demolition crews have pulled down the precarious top floors of the hotel and will continue to stabilise the structure this morning.
Once the building is safe, police said a detailed search will start to see if anyone died inside. Four people are still unaccounted for.
Chief Constable Stephen Otter said: “The longer we go on, the more concerned we become for the welfare of those people.
“The people in hospital are suffering from injuries from falling down, burns and, especially the elderly people, are suffering from the trauma of the whole thing.”
It is hoped the search will also give clues to the cause of the fire.
Mr Otter added: “We have to investigate what happened along with the fire service and that will take time.”
Last night 72 survivors were being taken home.
Floral tributes were placed near the hotel yesterday. One read: “In tragic circumstances such as these all I can offer is my personal sympathy and condolences for everyone who is affected by this terrible event.”
Police have revealed that a burglary took place a few hours before the fire was spotted.
A spokesman said: “The burglary occurred some time after 7pm. Nothing appears to have been taken but someone did force entry into the hotel.
“The cases are not being linked at this time but anyone who saw anything suspicious is asked to contact the police.”
At its height the fire was tackled by more than 100 firefighters and witnesses described flames shooting 30 feet from the roof and said they felt the intense heat 100 yards away.
The Penhallow Hotel is owned by Holdsworth Hotels which also has hotels in Torquay, Eastbourne and the Isle of Wight in England.
It is part of the Robinsons Holidays group.